#225 Mail-Right Show With Special Guest Ray Petkevis
Ray Petkevis Is A Top Producing Keller Williams Real Estate Agent in Delaware 2019
More About Ray Petkevis
Ray is a licensed Realtor in both Delaware and New Jersey in addition to his role as Principal/Owner of Delaware Realty Group, He is also a real estate investor and property manager for his personal rental properties ranging from New Jersey to Virginia. Suffice it to say, Ray knows the real estate industry inside and out, both as a buyer, seller, and investor.
At the beginning of 2015, Ray was named CEO of Keller Williams’ Wilmington Market Center. Located in Wilmington, Delaware, with a Business Center in Kennett Square, PA; Keller Williams Wilmington has over 140 agents and is responsible for more than 500 Real Estate Transactions per year at a sales volume of over $140,000,000 in gross sales. During his tenure, he grew the Market Center to one of the top Real Estate offices in the market and increased market share by 45% in his first 12 months in the role.
Robert: Welcome back folks to the Mail-Right podcast. It’s episode 225. Today we are meeting with Ray Petkevis who is the number one realtor in Delaware. And also just for the spirit of transparency. He is a client of inbound REM and he’s a friend as well. But over the years that Ray and I have been talking, Ray has been responsible for some of my favorite marketing tool recommendations. Bold Leads was something that he turned me on to. And I ended up doing not only a deep review of the platform, but I got in touch with the owners and they actually did a podcast; like a video interview with me and it turned into one of my best blog posts ever. All of that was fueled by Ray, by Ray Petkevis, who’s with us today. So Ray, what we’re going to focus the show on today after you introduce yourself, I will hand it over to you, but we’re going to ask you to share some of the secrets, some of the tools and the real estate marketing tools that you use to fuel your phenomenal growth. So with no further ado, why don’t you introduce yourself to our audience.
Ray: My name is Ray Petkevis.
Ray: I love to beat Robert up on that. And I do want to make it correction because we are a stickler for details. I’m not the number one real estate agent in Delaware. I’m the number one agent with Keller Williams in Delaware. I just want to make sure that folks who have done that job get that credit. Keller Williams is a great big company, happy to be number one with them, but there are a couple of folks that I’m still chasing down personally.
Ray: So I’m out here in Delaware. I’m really a fourth-year real estate agent. We just kind of did some numbers and they kind of get your perspective on that. We’ve sold about 518 homes in the last couple of years since we started this. And you know, our average sales price out here, I’m not sure if that’s interesting or not, but we’re $225,000, you know, is our average sales price. And we’re looking between 35 and $40 billion a year is kind of a consistent year for us at this point.
Ray: So volume-wise, 150 to 190 homes a year, it’s kind of that range because again, I’m a big fan of transparency. I don’t want to misrepresent numbers in any way or anything like that. It’s not like we’re selling a thousand homes a year. Our goal is to do more always.
Ray: That’s who we are. I’ve got a very good team. It’s a small team, you know, it’s a couple of admin and it’s about five or six agents depending on where we are and who’s transitioning to what role. But that’s what our team looks like.
Robert: All right. So–
Jonathon: Are you going to introduce me, Robert?
Robert: Yeah. I’m sorry. Yeah, I’m sorry. And then, of course, my fabulous co-host, who usually does these introductions and I’m very bad at them as everybody can now tell, but its Jonathan. He’s the founder of Mail-Right which is an all-in-one marketing system for real estate agents and brokers. And he’s been working on it like literally tirelessly for the last number of years. It’s pretty phenomenal, and if you get the opportunity, you should look them up and check them out. How about that? Did I make up for it?
Jonathon: You certainly did a great job, Robert. We are proactively looking for agents to join the Mail-Right team and we’ll be doing a load of new testing for our new campaigns for 2020, and they seem to be getting some great results. And we’re looking for some agents that are really up for getting better 2020 in 2019 and working with us.
Robert: Beautiful. So Ray you’ve been really great about and a lot of my learning, a lot of what I do for my business comes from not Ray and clients like him. And so Ray, would you mind sharing, like give us an overview of your– because this show is about real estate marketing and I’m super excited to have Ray on because he is transparent and he talks numbers with me all the time, which informs my opinion about the real estate marketing industry as a whole. So you’re doing a lot of marketing right now. Would you mind sharing who you’re doing it with, how much you’re spending, and then maybe breaking it down and telling us what your favorite tools are and why?
Ray: Yeah, certainly. So, as you guys were talking there; it’s not just marketing, it’s shameless marketing. So as you’re talking there, I just grabbed the tee shirt off the front of my– because– I realized that I did not have a Delaware Realty group shirt on and I looked over, I’m like, Oh there’s one. I give tee shirts out to everybody. I figure, you know, for the cost of eight bucks for Hanes BPT and the cost of having it printed I might as well at least throw it in there. I’m not going to keep this on for the whole show. That’s ridiculous, but there’s our logo. And for me, this whole thing is about having fun. So that logo, when I had it done, I actually stole the color scheme off of a 57 Cadillac [inaudible 05:33] that I saw online. And so when they were talking about color scheme, I’m like, no, no, this is the red. I want this 57 Cadillac red with the Chrome, and I want the monopoly hotel, but we’re going to use the monopoly house shape because the hotel is the superior piece of real estate in monopoly, but I sell homes, not hotels. So give me the house shape with the hotel color,
The 57 Cadillac color scheme, and that’s what we’re going to market with. I’m a big fan of cars. I actually own a 57 [inaudible 06:04] my real estate as far as open houses are concerned. And for me, real estate is not really a career or a job, it’s a lifestyle and it’s a lifestyle that I love. And that’s what makes this whole thing fun for me. And that’s what I made sure that the agents that are on my team understand is like, you want a job? Go get one somewhere else. I’m not offering careers, I’m not offering you know, really anything other than a lifestyle to figure out what it is that you want. And then we’re going to backfill that with a financial opportunity that comes from real estate. Shape this into whatever you want it to be, and it’ll be exactly what you design, but you got to be committed to that plan.
So, you know, Robert, that’s a lot of the conversations that you and I have had is, what do you want? How much does it cost to get what you want and what do you have to do to make that happen? And so, to answer your question, yeah, I spend a lot of money, not all of it hits the mark. We’re doing a lot of stuff online. I spend a lot of money on places that quite frankly I don’t think that I should. But being a new agent, I was in a state Delaware where I’m not from. And so it’s not like I went to high school with a bunch of people here or I was involved in a lot of organizations. So, really, my first two or even three years’ worth of business, I bought it off online leads and I just figured out a way to do a decent job converting online leads. And then the second job was, how do I increase that conversion rate?
And now we’re in a spot after being in this, you know, now that we’ve sold 518 homes in the last few years. Now the question is, let’s get referrals from the folks that we’ve done a really good job helping them buy or sell a home. But in that beginning couple of years, it’s like who do you know? I didn’t know anybody. And so the best way for me to get to know somebody was buying leads. And then introducing myself and simultaneously, introducing and sharing my value proposition because I am a good real estate agent. I’m a great real estate agent. I’m just not from here.
And so a lot of that stuff of like, how long have you lived here and all that stuff. I wanted to get past that to, I have a different value proposition, which is I’m going to sell your home very quickly for the most amount of money we can with the least amount of aggravation. You know, that’s the value proposition that I bring to my listing clients. And then our buyer clients, it’s a different value proposition. It’s, I’m a fierce negotiator and I’m going to do the heavy lifting for you. So that’s really what I brought to market, buying internet leads. And now in that search of how do I increase my conversion purchasing leads off of line, that’s where really you and I came in.
I was online going, is there a better way than just straight-up buying leads? And that’s where I met Robert, was I saw one of his videos where he was doing a good job of both the positive and negative comparison analysis of one of the vendors that I was considering doing business with, which, ultimately led me to give him a call to say, you know what, you did a fair job. You weighed in the high points, you weighed in the low points, and I want to talk to you because you seem to have something off for yourself.
Robert: And of the vendors that I recollect that you’ve used so far had been Bold Leads, Zillow, truliarealtor.com I think. Is there any lesson that you’d share about using those services or other aggressive agents or brokers?
Ray: Any lessons that I’d share as far as–?
Robert: Like you’ve–, we won’t mention exact numbers, but you have a healthy budget; you’ve spent a lot of it with those vendors. Is there some lesson that you’ve learned in that process, like buying leads from these, these companies? Is there anything that you’d pass along to other people?
Ray: Yeah, I would say you really need to start with a geographic center point, where you know something about the market. And so I still hold sure to this day and that I spend more money in the zip code that I live in than I do in any other zip code or even in my top two, three or four zip codes combined. I still don’t spend as much money in those zip codes as I did the zip code that I live in. And there’s a reason for that. I’ve lived in this area, I’m not new to Delaware, it’s just that I wasn’t born and raised here. So I’ve lived in this zip code in Delaware for longer than I’ve done business. So when someone says to me, Hey, what are the schools like here? I can not only tell you what the schools are like, but I can say about my experience as a father with my kids in school.
Well, that’s a big thing that Robert and I have worked on, is the schools. And it’s a big reason that people move to the zip code that I live in. So I made sure that I know a lot about that because if that’s the primary driving point for folks to move in into the zip code where I live, that better be something that I’m an expert on. And then when it comes to like, where’s the nearest restaurant? What do you guys do for fun? Do you play golf? I’m not really a golfer, but I can tell you all about the three golf courses that are in my town. I have played each of those courses even though I’m not a golfer. So that when I do get a golfer who’s asking me about; what’s it like to relocate into this town? Where can I play golf?
It’s not like, Oh yeah, there’s a golf course here, there’s a golf course there. I played each of these courses. This is the difference experience-wise between, Frog Hollow versus Odessa National versus Back Creek. And I can tell you what that experience is like. So my best advice would be if you’re going to go into buying leads, make sure your first purchase is the area that you know the best. And then as you expand out and you know, we’re well into the 500 leads a month territory now.
Ray: Luckily it’s been online. That’s way more than I can personally handle. So the second thing that I tried to do and we do it is if I’m going to buy leads in a market where I don’t live and I’m not the expert, hire an agent who lives in that market, as you grow your team and point those leads at that agent so that your incoming customer gets the same experience as far as what’s the best restaurant, where do you shop? Where’s the nearest hospital? You want to make sure that you are a local expert in the marketplace. And I personally try not to do business in zip codes where I’m not a local market expert.
Robert: I got you. So, John, we’ve novelized the conversation so far and I appreciate you giving us a little bit of momentum into the show, but now it is absolutely positively or your turn to have a conversation with Ray.
Jonathon: I just got a question before we go for our break. Ray, I think your story that you used online leads to really establish your business is fantastic. But I have a lot of discussion with agents about the difference between a personal referral, and what lead is. And I get a lot of agents that try and think that online leads should be of the same quality as opposed to referral. Can you put them right and give some ideas to our listener and viewers what an online lead is.
Ray: Absolutely. An online lead is really the most difficult customer to deal with, in the first, I would say three to five days. A personal referral is someone who will wait for me when I say, “Hey, that’s great, I’m glad you know Bob introduced us, I can meet with you on Thursday”. You know, the nice thing is that person will probably wait till Thursday. When I get someone that’s an online lead, I have two minutes to call them and if I don’t call them in two minutes, the chances are someone else from another brokerage called because the leads that I purchased, they’re not exclusive to me.
It’s kind of a shotgun method were three to five agents, my beginning of that same lead simultaneously. So I got to be first to get them on the phone and then I have to be engaging enough to be the person that they’re going to call back. They’re still going to get those other three to five calls because chances are they didn’t acquire about just one home. So even if I have a lead that comes in and it’s shared with only say two agents, they probably put an inquiry on three to five houses. So they’re going to be bombarded with real estate agents calling them. So the first thing you got to do, you got to be transparent about the fact that you’re going to be bombarded with people calling you. And if I do a good enough job, sharing with you, why you should work with me, you need to be comfortable telling these other folks that I’m sorry, I’m not going to answer your call or return your call. Whist if I do with the referral, I’ve already got a leg up on that relationship.
Jonathon: Well, I think what you’re talking about is when you’re using something like Zillow. When you’re using something like Bold Leads it’s a slightly different scenario, but it’s still not the same as opposed to a referral. Would you agree with that? And what is the difference if you’re using something like Bold Leads compared to a personal referral?
Ray: Well the first thing is boldly is a listing lead, not a buyer lead. So buyer leads are as transient as it comes. The listing lead, I know where they live because they put their address in there. Buyer lead, I don’t know their address. I’ve got an email and a phone number and so I’ve got a ghost if they don’t want to talk to me. The listing lead, I can always go knock on the door and I can drop off a package and say, “Hey, I got your inquiry online. I wasn’t, but it reached on the phone, but I went and I printed this 35-page market analysis for you here. I wanted to stop by, I live in town and I wanted to drop this off in person, introduce myself, here’s my card, [inaudible00:15:42] this. Give me a call if you’re interested to know more about what I took the time to put together for you. So, that’s even still an online listing lead is going to be better than an online buyer lead, but nowhere near as good as a personal referral.
Because again, there’s no relationship there, so if I had to create a hierarchy of leads, it’s the online buyer lead which is the hardest one to deal with. The online listing lead is better, but certainly the handoff of the person, the person [inaudible 16:14]. Because half the time I get introduced to somebody; I do monthly parties at my house. And so the listing clients, they actually bring their friends to my home and say “Hey, Ray is throwing a party this month. I call it a third hump day, so on the third Wednesday of every month, I have a party at my home. I hire a bartender. It’s a nice party, and I invite my clients. And they’re able to invite their– bring your kids, I have a babysitter, I’ve got a swing set and a nice big backyard and all that stuff. So that’s really an opportunity for me to generate person to person referrals because I’m pretty clear about like, Hey, I do this party once a month so that not only can I say thank you for the business that we’ve done together, but it’s an opportunity for you to introduce me to somebody that might also appreciate the service that I provided you. So I’ve got an open-door policy, not only in my office but also in my home.
Jonathon: Oh that’s great. We’re going to go for our break. We’re coming back and Robert can ask some more questions when we come back, folks. We’ll be back in a few moments.
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Jonathon: We’re coming back; we’ve had a great conversation already with Ray, back over to you Robert.
Robert: Okay Ray, so now’s the time for the pedal to hit the metal. So you’ve talked to us a little bit about you know, I happen to know that you are an extremely charismatic marketer. And you’ve been talking a lot about these external efforts that you do. And I’m not even going to; if we have time for bonus content, if we decided to do some, we’re going to talk about something extraordinary that Ray did over the holidays that I was physically present for. But barring that, I’d like to focus the show a little bit more on the tools that you use because you’ve been talking a lot about them. But like, let’s talk about what you’re using right now because I know you’ve moved into using a couple of new things. I would also if we have time; if you have any thoughts about command and you don’t have to. I know it’s still something that you and your team are getting used to and that you’re not dealing with it directly. But if you have a thousand-foot high opinion, I would love for my listeners, are our listeners to hear what that opinion is because there are 180,000 Keller Williams agents and market leaders in the States. And I have no doubt that some of them are listening to the show today.
Robert: So go ahead and what are your favorite tools? What are your favorite new tools?
Ray: Well, my system is I say is pretty straightforward, and it’s almost like dominoes. It’s a series of things that work together. So I’ve got a lot of internet leads that come in. Some are from the website that Robert has helped me build. Some are from realtor.com. Some are from Zillow. Some are from Bold Leads. So when they come in we’ve mapped those leads. And when I say map, I’m talking field map; first name, last name, website or not website, email address, phone number and all that stuff. They get imported into something called Five Street. Five Street is, for lack of a better term, it’s like a jump ball. So Five Streets we’ll then take any buyer lead. I don’t do it with Bold Leads because they actually come to me directly to my cell phone. So they’re not coming in there because I do all the listings on my team. But any buyer lead that comes in is mapped out, and it fires out through Five Street as a lead opportunity.
And it gets fired out to every single one of my agents. If you’re in a room with my agents, when a lead comes in, everybody’s cell phone goes off at the same time and it’s kind of fun to watch them. They’ll reach in [inaudible 20:14] a couple of them went to the extra step to buy an Apple watch so that they don’t have to reach into their pocket to hit the phone. They can actually click on the Apple watch. They accept the lead and then once they get the lead, what they get is the contact information. The lead comes in to everybody, but the contact information comes in to the person that claims it. Now, I’ve already got the lead. It’s in my email, whoever one of my agents claims it first they get the full contact information and then they go ahead and give them a call right there on the spot.
And we’ve got a series of questions that we asked them. They are pre-qualifying questions, they don’t seem like pre-qualifying questions but they are; it seems like a conversation. So that we understand, what it is that this person is looking for and how to help them? So that’s really the second, so wherever the lead is generated is our first step. The second step is the Five Street distribution system. The third step is our agents claiming the lead and actually having the contact information revealed to them. The fourth step is my own secret sauce if you would, and that’s something that I’m not going to share with you on this call because I’ve got a conversation that gets a series of questions answered without asking the questions that I want the answers to. It’s a conversation that we have so that I understand how we can help those folks.
And then from there it goes to our lender and we’re never asking somebody to get pre-qualified. We’re asking them if they’re interested in taking advantage, free money that’s out there through the state of Delaware. There’s a financial incentive, but we’re never asking them to get pre-qualified. What we’re asking them is, are you interested in knowing more about a financial incentive that’ work for you to buy a home. Then the lender gets them, they do the pre-qualification there. They have their own online portal where they get them in. I do a joint text message, which for me is a key piece of this. It’s not transference; it’s a joint text message. All my communications are joint text messages. That way I know that the communication has happened and I know that the handoff was completed. Then the between the–
Robert: Between you and the lender or you and somebody on your team?
Ray: Me, the lender, everybody, so if it’s me handing off a prospective buyer off to a teammate, it goes from me to the teammate, the lender and the client all at once. So, now I can watch who’s dialed in, who’s the first person that made contact after because I set the expectation. And if it’s Robert; if it’s me and you, I say, “Robert, I’m going to do a joint text message with Tim, who is the agent who lives in the area that you’re requesting information about, and Danielle, who is our lender. So look for that text message trend in the next three minutes. If you don’t get that text, something went wrong, call me back.” And then you get that text message.
And then I sit there and I watch who responds back first. Is Tim respond back as the agents, does Daniel respond back as the lender or does the client respond back saying, “Hey guys, I’m here. It’s nice to meet all of you.” And there’s almost a psychology to that to see who responds back first. If the prospective buyer is the first person to respond, I’m like, damn, we’ve got somebody that’s interested here. They’re highly engaged in whatever conversation is that I just had with them. And if they’re the first person to respond and I don’t have one of my two partners, whether it’s my lender or my agent responding back immediately, then I’m going to be on the phone with them saying, please respond to his text. Someone is waiting for you right now. And then really that goes to our first appointment because after that text message that’s going to determine what that first appointment looks like. Because, we find out that their credit score is a hundred points below what we need it to be in order, be able to, you know, initiate an offer. Then that’s not somebody that I want my agents driving around town.
And I think that’s just really common sense. But the problem with that is, in the world of the internet, everybody thinks they have great credit and we don’t know what their credit is until we actually know. And I don’t want my agents wasting their time, their gas, meeting somebody out at home that’s a hundred points below the minimum threshold for being able to get approved. And so that’s our process, and I would say that’s where we went. The majority of the time is you get there first, you get there fast and then you come with a value proposition that’s comfortable and informative. And that handoff has to be one that does not feel like a handoff, but it feels like more an introduction to a conversation with somebody else that’s going to help them achieve their goals.
Robert: That’s awesome. I love that. I love every single word of that. I found that helpful. I hope our listeners are picking up something too because I know how fast and how consistent your growth has been and how much you’re moving in the direction of both dominating your marketplace. You’re already doing something that Jonathan and I have talked with other guests about many times, which is kind of becoming the mayor of a town which is basically a local community expert. Now, I’ve been with you, I’ve actually flown out there and hung out with you. And you go to all the diners and you talk to all the people and you do all the things, the only thing for our audience that you and I have been working on, and again, it’s just transparency. My thing has been getting Ray to film more of that for us to get it online, get it actually digitize. He has actually done to my frustration, I have discovered that he has tens of thousands of photos, but I have not seen the vast majority of them. And so they’re not of use to us until we can actually get them and then apply them to his website and his digital marketing. However, in terms of activity and action, Ray has been doing the things that we’ve been talking about. So Jonathan, do you have another question for Ray?
Jonathon: Yeah, one question and then we’ll wrap up the podcast of the show, and hopefully Ray can stay on for 10-minutes, which can be bonus content.
Jonathon: So Ray, in 2020, what are your plans around video and how important do you think video is going to be for your marketing in 2020?
Ray: Video is the core of it. And I think Robert would get back on a plane, fly across the country and punch me in the face if I said it was anything other than that, considering the time [inaudible 26:25]. We’ve done a lot of video. I’m still uploading stuff to youtube. I’m taking videos every day. I’ve tuned in to Gary V a lot. I’m a big fan of his; I liked the way that he talks in his podcast. I feel like he’s talking to me. He uses the language that I like to speak in. I get it. And one of the things he says is, if you are right now not producing video at scale then you’re missing the boat. He said, “Because basically, you’ve got the opportunity to broadcast on so many different social media platforms for pennies on the dollar compared to what it’s going to be later on. Once the big the big companies realized how targeted this audience can be with so few dollars spent”. And he said, “If you’re not in the business of taking advantage of that today, then you might as well just go away”. So video was it.
And the other thing is this I make a point that when I’m on video and today it’s kind of like a bad example. I didn’t have my Delaware Realty Group shirt on, but I had one here. I made a joke if not. Actually, I have one on underneath this, but you got to be branded. Actually, no, I’m not, it’s a game of Thrones shirt. But you’ve got to be your brand at all times. You’ve got to be your brand at all times. I am the face of my brand, and the face of my brand is, it’s got to be on camera. And you’ve got to be on camera in a comfortable manner to where you like to talk about what it is you want to talk about.
I don’t care what it is you want to talk about. Just be in love with that. Smile a lot. I’ve made a point, I probably looked like an idiot to myself sitting here smiling, but I really love what I do. And if you’re going to be on camera, be happy to be on camera. Be well-spoken. Smile a lot; know what you’re talking about. Don’t be afraid to hijack. I probably had 70% of the talking role on this podcast. Don’t be afraid to hijack somebody else’s show. It’s my opportunity to be the guests. Get on the show, hijack their show get your message across, smile a lot when you do it, and then publish the hell out of it because that’s the business room. I’m doing that here, and other agents in my market either don’t get on video or when they do, they don’t come across the way that probably Robert would like them to. I’m going to use Robert as the scapegoat.
Jonathon: I totally understand. It’s just an informal but still professional way of coming across, isn’t it? So we can wrap up the podcast part of the show folks and then we’re going to go into bonus content, which you’ll be able to see on the Mail-Right website with a full transcription of the show. So Ray what’s the best way for people to find out more about you and your company?
Ray: To text me. That’s probably the worst thing about my company right now is I am not that reachable. I get hundreds of emails per day. It’s kind of an abyss. And I tell my clients, if you want me, text me. My text number is 302-685-4042. If you want to talk to me and shoot me a text message, I’ll call you back. It might not be within the hour, especially considering whatever it’s about, but I’ll call you back. Minimum, I’ll text you back and then we can talk. But, email is terrible. I got to get better with a system with that. That’s really where I’m falling short as the real estate agent is. That back-end system for the responses I don’t have a personal assistant; I should. Robert told me that’s the next money that I need to spend, not even a recommendation he uses. That’s what you have to do next, you need a personal assistant. But for me, there’s a disconnect there, I want to talk to everybody. The problem is right now with what we’ve done, I just don’t have the hours in the day to do it.
Jonathon: Yeah, totally understandable. And Robert, what’s the best way for people to find out more about you and what you’re up to?
Robert: So actually 2020 is a big year in terms of marketing, and I’m doing a lot of new stuff. I’ve got some education stuff that I’m going to be doing on the website that’s going to be free. Later in the year, I’m going to introduce some stuff that you’re paying for. You can find out all about that at inboundrem.com. You’ve got a few more weeks with my old website up and then my new one will be up, and we’re off to the races. So Jon, how can people get in touch with you?
Jonathon: It’s really very simple folks, you can either email me at Jonathan@mail-right.com and I’ll get back to you pretty quick. Or you can go on the Mail-Right website and you can get a free demo of all the amazing product and services that are part of the male rights system, and I’ll do the demo with you and that’s totally free. We’ll be back next week with another great guest, hopefully, or internal discussion between me and my great cohost, Robert. And also probably maybe a great guest like Ray. We’ll be back next week folks, see you soon, bye.